A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a relevant subject or equivalent (for example, professional experience).
For students with a degree in a subject other than history of art, the one-year part-time Graduate Certificate in History of Art and Architecture can be used as a conversion course. Students who successfully complete the Graduate Certificate with Merit will normally be guaranteed a place on this course.
Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.
Months of entry
Photography has become the major form of image-making and visual communication since its development in the nineteenth century. Its importance has been recognised in many areas of scholarship: history of art, media and cultural studies, literature, memory and memorialisation, gender and identity, philosophy and law. Its role in all fields of the arts and sciences, including those most personal, is being expanded, renewed and questioned by contemporary digital cultures.
Our MA History of Photography with Curating enables you to learn about - and to negotiate your individual path through - past and present photographic practices and cultures, in order to develop your interests, whether your engagement with the medium is academic, artistic, personal or vocational.
The curating pathway will help you acquire high-level foundational skills and a solid grasp of key issues in curating practice. You will gain an insight into the different working practices of various museums and galleries and a broad understanding of the role and responsibilities of the curator within the modern museum and gallery context.
This degree offers you the opportunity to study with internationally recognised experts. Our teaching staff are defining the field, conducting groundbreaking research in the history and theory of photography in its various uses and manifestations. You will work closely with our staff while also benefiting from our diverse and vibrant student body of all ages and backgrounds. The teaching programme is enriched by the international research culture of the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre.
You can take part in exclusive visits to photographic archives and exhibitions, and take advantage of placement opportunities in the Jo Spence Memorial Library and Archive. Alternatively, there are opportunities for work placements with other London museums, galleries and archive.
- Birkbeck was ranked as one of the top four universities in the UK for its Art and Design research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
- The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
- We encourage you to become involved in the lively research culture of the Department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre, the Centre for Museum Cultures and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history.
- You can attend a wide range of events, including those organised by the Postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck, the biennial Murray Lecture, the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space, and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. You can also attend Arts Week, a programme of public events and activities, held each May. Find out more about our staff and student activities on the Birkbeck History of Art blog or join us at one of our information evenings, held throughout the year.
- You will have access to an incredible range of resources, including the Birkbeck Library and our in-house resources centre, the Jo Spence Memorial Library and Terry Dennett Archive, the British Library, and specialist libraries at the University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art and National Art Library. You can also visit the photographic collections and exhibition spaces of the V&A, Museum of London, National Portrait Gallery (Heinz Archives), Photographers’ Gallery, Tate, Barbican, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery and INIVA, as well as commercial galleries and photography book dealers.
- You will have the option to join our study trips, offered each spring. Cities visited in the last few years include Florence, Paris, Venice, Vienna, Rome, Berlin and Moscow.
Information for international students
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Qualification, course duration and attendance options
- part time24 months
- Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
Course contact details
- Student Advice Service
- +44 (0)20 3907 0700